Surviving the holidays with a toddler – schedule flexibility is key!

So, my new year’s resolution is to be more dedicated to this site! Wish me luck!

This past holiday season, my husband and I took 2 weeks of vacation around Christmas and New Year’s so that we could relax and enjoy the holidays together. Although we each got that nasty cold that’s been going around, it was such a treat to sleep in (yes, Madeline indulged us by sleeping in until almost 8:30 every morning! What a great gift!), make breakfast together, and enjoy each others company. It was as if we’d been given a 14 day weekend. In fact, we spent so much time together that on hubby’s first day back to work, I couldn’t get anything done around the house because Madeline wanted all of my attention. She’d gotten so used to having someone to play with every minute of every day (relatives, daddy, me) that she’d forgotten how to play by herself, something she’d very much enjoyed prior to the holidays. We are trying to give her a little time to play alone (read a book, feed her babies, etc.) while “mommy and daddy talk” and it seems to be working…slowly.

Anyway, back to “surviving the holidays”…

I had actually forgotten how much “throwing out the rules” helped me get through the holidays last year…and she was only 4 months old! This year, I was busy cooking the seven fishes Christmas Eve dinner with my mom and didn’t realize it was after 8 pm and Madeline was still wide awake, playing with her aunt and uncles and “watching” A Christmas Story. Now, her normal bedtime is 7 pm so this was really off her schedule to be up this late. I decided not to worry about it and to deal with the consequences later…it was more important to spend time with the family than to stick with a schedule. At 8:30, my mom put her to bed (I have the BEST mom!) and the rest of us hung out, had dessert & opened gifts. Madeline got up at 8:30/8:45 the next morning and we went about our Christmas day.

Over the next week and a half, naps were thrown out the window and only happened if we were near a crib or pack-and-play. One day, we went to PA and didn’t get home until 11 pm (no naps that entire day!) and she went right to bed (at my mom’s) and slept in until 10:30 am. Yes, it messed up the nap schedule for the next few days, but her bedtime and wake time was pretty consistent – at least she consistently got 12-14 hours of sleep per day. I guess that’s the key – not to worry about the schedule so much as the total amount of sleep they get. However, I really feel I need to credit Baby Wise for her flexibility with sleeping. We can come home at any time past her normal bedtime and she goes right to bed. No rocking, no feeding, nothing. Just put on her pj’s and put her into bed. It’s the greatest thing! Hubby and I get time together and she gets much needed rest.

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